Louisiana Ship Cook Claims Chemical Exposure Caused Flesh-Eating Infection

Louisiana Ship Cook Claims Chemical Exposure Caused Flesh-Eating InfectionA cook who was on a ship that was docked close to a chemical-loading facility for months claims he was exposed to a toxic substance that caused him to develop a flesh-eating infection.

In his toxic substances lawsuit, David Stafford names the owner of the chemical loading facility, Mississippi Phosphates Corp., as responsible for exposing him to "dye-ammonium phosphate" for approximately six months, the Louisiana Record reports. The company is accused of allowing the allegedly dangerous chemical to be released into the vicinity without making the proper attempts at containment and failing to warn those on vessels near its facility of the dangers they allegedly faced from the exposure.

Stafford allegedly developed rashes, skin lesions and necrotizing fasciitis, commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria, as a result of the defendant's actions. To treat these conditions, he allegedly needed to undergo multiple surgeries, skin grafts and debridement.

He is represented by a toxic substances attorney and seeks more than $2.25 million in damages, according to the source.

A 1996 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report estimates that 500 to 1,500 cases of flesh eating infection occur every year, according to the National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation. Approximately 20 percent of those infected ultimately die.